The day ahead: Thursday
* The key back-to-school selling season comes into focus as many U.S. retailers, including Target, Gap and Macys, report monthly sales.
* The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims data are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and should show a slight moderation to 560,000 from the previous week’s 570,000.
* The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates at 1.0 percent.
* Del Monte is expected to swing to a profit from a year-earlier loss when it reports first-quarter earnings.
* A deadline looms for the European Commission’s antitrust authority to approve Oracle’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun. Sources say there is rising concern at the commission about Oracle getting its hands on Sun’s MySQL database.